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Holden to rebrand in 2017

Not lion: While dealerships will undergo a major refit and rebrand, the Holden lion logo is safe for now.

New look for Holden dealerships from 2017 as company morphs into importer role

12 Oct 2015

GM HOLDEN and its 223-strong dealer network will invest $200 million to update its showrooms around the country, as the company transitions into its new role as a full-line importer from the last quarter of 2017.

Holden executive director of sales Peter Keley announced the initiative during a launch event for the Commodore VF Series II range, promising customers a “whole new experience”.

“The current one has been in vogue for 20 years and it’s time,” he said. “The fact that we’re closing manufacturing around that time is, to be honest, coincidental. Holden needs to maintain a very fresh and contemporary look in the market place. The current program has served us exceptionally well but it’s time to move on.”

The program will begin to roll out in 2017.

“At this stage we're in the design phase and the definition phase,” Mr Keley told GoAuto. “I've seen technologies move on significantly, and there's a lot of ways we can help make the product, and the way the customer interacts with that product, in our dealerships a much more interactive experience for our customers.”

With 223 dealers currently on the books, Mr Keley suggests the company is satisfied with its national reach at present, as it looks to add 24 more new models to its range between now and 2020, replacing long-standing models such as the Captiva SUV and Barina Spark micro car, as well as its outgoing Commodore.

 center imageLeft: Holden executive director of sales Peter Keley

“At the end of the day, the network will still evolve. By and large, we're fairly happy with our dealer numbers,” he said. “Our (sales) volumes in the future will increase from where they are today and we're very, very confident around that. Our network actually is a huge asset to us. We don't see any need to reduce numbers to have a viable network.

“What we want to do is increase the volume to ensure that the network is viable and can service the customer as needed.”

Both metro and country dealers will be obliged to invest an amount Holden suggests will be close to $200 million collectively in the refit, which will roll out from early 2017.

“We have the same standards for rural dealers or metro dealers,” affirmed Mr Keley. “Certainly the size of what we call the pole sign out the front are different sizes to match the location and things like that, so we do scale things. But the fundamental elements are consistent, and they always will be.

“The programme will be compulsory because we want to have a consistent image across our network, the current programme is compulsory and there will be a new program.”

While the interior of the typical Holden dealership is set to change, with more interactive technology aimed at enticing customers back into showrooms, Mr Keley believes the time is right for a more contemporary look – but some elements will remain sacred.

“While the old signage has lasted us for twenty years, the actual badge, the lion, still looks contemporary and there's really no need to update that at all,” he said. “The Holden lion will stay the Holden lion.” The company’s fortunes improved somewhat in September, with the company posting a 9.1 per cent sales lift over August, to sit at 76,828 for the year to date.

Year on year, it is still 7.4 per cent below the line on its 2014 performance.

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